National Tree Week is at this time of year because it’s the best time to plant trees while they are dormant ready for the winter.
And this year, Hounslow Council is giving away 1,000 trees to residents and schools. ‘Free Trees for Hounslow’ has been incredibly popular, with only a selected number of trees still available (if you’re interested, don’t wait much longer!). Residents can book here, and schools can order here. This initiative will help the borough become greener than ever before.
Of course, for young trees to thrive, they need TLC, especially in the first three years after they’ve been planted.
The Greentalk team has put this guide together to help those who are new to tree planting. Follow these top 6 tree caring tips to help keep your new trees grow and thrive.
Weeding is crucial to give your tree the right start. Keeping an area of about 1m in diameter around the tree clear of weeds and grass (for the first 2-3 years) will reduce competition for moisture and nutrients.
You can use mulch, such as bark chips or straw bales, to help suppress weeds. Pile it on to a depth of around 10cm and top it up annually.
Your trees will adapt to natural conditions so it shouldn't need watering during the winter months. In the spring, we sometimes have prolonged periods without rainfall, so that’s the time to start watering, and carrying on into summer.
It’s best to saturate the ground around the tree as much as possible so the water reaches deep into the soil. This will encourage roots to grow down towards groundwater.
Regular grass cutting in the proximity of a young tree is not a good idea. Mowing invigorates grass growth and increases competition for moisture, but if you do need to mow, take care to avoid damaging your tree!
This is not essential, but it will encourage trees to grow upwards and to ensure they have an even shape once they are established.
It’s best to prune most trees in the winter when they’re dormant. However, species such as cherry and walnut need pruning in the summer to reduce risk of disease and sap bleeding.
Your trees may be affected by a variety of common diseases, but these will rarely kill young trees. A particularly cold winter may result in frost damage, but your tree should recover. If you do see signs of disease, go online to find specific treatments.
· Alongside ‘Free Trees for Hounslow’, thousands more new trees will be planted around the borough in parks, estates, and on streets. Keep an eye on Hounslow Greentalk to see where new trees are appearing near you.
· Did you know that you can adopt trees in public spaces? There are thousands of newly planted trees that are adoptable right across the borough. By adopting a tree, you can help care for it, especially by watering it during hot weather.